Don’t be caught out by bogus holiday clubs and scams warns Highland Council Trading Standards

Advice and Enforcement staff from The Highland Council’s Trading Standards will be on hand this weekend at Inverness Airport to offer advice and information to Highland holidaymakers heading for the sun.

Every year it is estimated that almost 400,000 UK consumers fall victim to bogus holiday clubs at a cost of over £1 billion. Holiday clubs are marketed as a flexible alternative to timeshare, promising a lifetime of discounted luxury holidays anywhere in the world. Some are reputable businesses that trade in good faith. But others promise far more than they deliver.

Gordon Robb, Highland Council Trading Standards Manager hopes that holiday makers will take the opportunity to visit and information stand at Inverness Airport.  He explains: “Our event is a unique opportunity to warn consumers to be on their guard against bogus holiday club scams before they fly out on their holidays. Many holidaymakers will be familiar with holiday club touts handing out scratch cards which offer the prize of a luxury holiday if you win.  The unsuspecting tourist may succumb when pressed into collecting their prize by attending a lengthy sales presentation or by being asked to sign up to a holiday club immediately.”

He added: “Holiday makers may not have the opportunity to read and examine what they are signing or they may be under the impression that they can cancel later on if they discover that what was being offered is not all it seemed or simply change their mind.  Unfortunately although improvements in consumer rights in this area of trade were introduced by the European Commission, not all countries within the EU have yet adopted the new directive in full and cancellation may not always be easy or possible.”

The Europe Directive when adopted by member States, (as it has been in the UK since 23 February 2011), gives members of the public new protections if they do purchase membership to a holiday club.

Full rights under the new protections include:

Mr Robb adds: “We would also like to give our sincere thanks to Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) for allowing us to run this event during their busy holiday period.” 

Visitors to the stand can pick up information on how to protect themselves from scams abroad, such as bogus holiday clubs, as well as finding out their rights when buying goods in Europe and what to do if things go wrong.  The stand is open at Inverness Airport on Friday 1 July from 9am to 5pm, Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 July from 12 noon to 4pm.

Consumers can find out more information about EU rights by viewing the Trading Standards Institute UK European Consumer Centre at: www.UKEEC.net or by speaking to an advisor on 08456 04 05 03. Alternatively consumers can also visit or write to The Highland Council, Trading Standards, 38 Harbour Road, Inverness IV1 1UF for free and confidential advice.

For further Highland Trading Standards news please go to: http://www.highland.gov.uk

29 Jun 2011
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